Stepping Up: American Banker Magazine's editor-in-chief Heather Landy points out that few bank heads are willing to take serious ownership of a crisis. One exception to the rule is HSBC USA president and CEO Irene Dorner, who has opted to act as the public face of her bank's compliance issues. Landy wonders whether women tend to be more willing than men to take responsibility in the face of a fiasco: "Are women in leadership positions simply more willing to get their hands dirty when it's time to clean something up?" Bank of America's Brian Moynihan has a chance to prove that crisis-ownership can be equal-opportunity after the Bank of America disclosed an accounting error this week that altered its stress-test results. But at least one reader has her doubts about Moynihan's willingness to get out in front of the problem: "Holding your breath might hurt," BankThink contributor Mayra Rodriguez Valladares wrote on Twitter.
How to Save Community Banks: Richard J. Parsons offers a two-part series explaining the threat that bank consolidation poses to the future of community banks and how two public policy changes could ensure the continued vitality of smaller lenders. What do policy-makers need to do to give community banks some breathing room? Simplify regulatory jurisdiction and get rid of unnecessary and burdensome compliance requirements, according to Parsons. One reader posting under the moniker SmallTownGuy suggests that the disappearance of community banks also threatens people in small towns and rural areas, many of whom have no other lending and depository institutions available. "If the bank or bankers throw in the towel, so too will many small towns," he writes.
Risky Business: What do banks and boiled frogs have in common? Both fail to react to danger when it sneaks up gradually. Banking consultant J.V. Rizzi offers banks tips on how to identify warning signs in their risk profile: accept only risks they can understand, be wary of complex products, be aware of the tradeoff between high risk and high returns and avoid any risk that could threaten solvency.
Also on the blog: Regular BankThink contributor Dave Martin discusses the importance of positive attitudes in close quarters a useful reminder for banks moving toward small-scale, small-staffed branches. "Ardently define and defend the cultures you will have, the behaviors you will reward, and those behaviors that you will not tolerate in your own 'leaner' branches," Martin advises bank management.
Risk and compliance consultant Andrew Waxman suggests that banks take a cue from Amazon's approach to customer analytics and remember that they can't expect consumers to give up information unless they will receive some kind of benefit in return.
Lawyers Stephen Rasch and Julie Abernethy cast doubt on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s lawsuit accusing big banks of harming a number of failed lenders by manipulating Libor rates. "What appears to be lacking is evidence that the defendants' alleged Libor manipulation caused damages to these failed banks," they write.
BankThink deputy editor Sarah Todd rounds up a collection of the pithiest tweets from financial pundits discussing Bank of America's accounting gaffe. Former regulators Neil Barofsky and Sheila Bair weigh in. And Paul Seibert, vice president of financial design for EHS Design, enumerates the traits of productive bank branches in a BankThink Live video.
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